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Solar panels do break, but not under normal operating conditions; they can easily withstand a mild hail storm, a child throwing a rubber ball at them, and a person walking on top of them.

However, it is best to avoid any of them as much as possible because they can cause microcracks, which can impede total power generation in the long run.

How Durable Are Solar Panels

Solar panels are made up of solar cells that are connected in a series-parallel configuration, encapsulated between a transparent polymer, and enclosed in an aluminium frame that is covered by 3.2 mm thick tempered glass.

Tempered glass is much thicker and stronger than regular glass, and because it is tempered, it shatters into small pieces rather than large ones, making it safe.

Individual solar cells are wafer-thin and easily breakable, but the way they are arranged in a solar panel makes them very strong.

When Do Solar Panels Fail?

We now know that solar panels have a thick tempered glass layer on top to protect the solar cells inside. Let’s see how the glass performs in real-world scenarios.

  1. Walking On Solar Panels: If you have solar panels installed on top of a metal roof, you may have to walk on some of them to access the solar panels during cleaning and maintenance.
  2. Hail Storms: While it is true that hail storms can damage solar panels, this is not entirely true. The majority of solar panels on the market have been tested for hail storms. A moderate hailstorm will not shatter the glass, and if it does, it will not penetrate the entire solar panel and break the cells.

Aside from walking on the solar panels and hail storms, other things that can happen include a tree branch falling on the solar panels, someone throwing a stone or rubber ball on the solar panels, and possibly monkeys shattering the glass with their hands.

All of the above are possible scenarios, but aside from the monkey threat and voluntary action taken to break the solar panels, none of the other scenarios will cause visible physical damage, but they may cause microcracks.

Microcracks are something that will gradually reduce the efficiency of your solar panels. Microcracks are not visible to the naked eye and are caused by frequent impact on solar panels, temperature changes, and weather changes.

Is it possible that your performance will suffer if your solar panels fail?

I’d like to point out that the efficiency drop in solar panels is determined by the type of damage done to the panels.

The power output will be the same as a proper unbroken solar panel if only the tempered glass is shattered and the solar cells are intact.

However, if the solar cells are broken and there is a visible hole in your solar panel, the power loss will be greater than 50%.

What Part Of Solar Panels Damage Is Covered By Warranty

When it comes to solar panel warranties, almost all of the major solar panel manufacturers offer a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty.

The product warranty, also known as the manufacturing warranty or workmanship warranty, is the warranty that covers any physical damage to solar panels.

I investigated the warranty structures of major solar panel manufacturers, and almost all of them stated that if a panel is damaged due to flood, fire, lightning, or an act of God, it is not covered by warranty and will not be replaced. (This eliminates hailstorm damage.)

Aside from that, if they believe your solar system was poorly designed, such as installation in the shade, the warranty will be voided.

It is safe to assume that if the solar panel was broken during transportation, they will replace it, and if you have properly installed your solar system and the solar panel is damaged due to an act of God, it will be replaced under warranty.

How Can You Protect Your Solar Panels From Damage

If there is a massive hail storm or a riot near your house and someone is throwing stones at it, you will be unable to save the panels; however, these are extreme cases. Most places do not experience hail storms, and such riots are extremely rare; therefore, we can take some simple precautions to protect our solar panels.

  • To avoid microcracks and hot spots, do not install solar panels in the shade.
  • Cleaning your solar panels when they are hot (such as in the afternoon) can cause microcracks due to the sudden temperature change.
  • If there is a monkey threat or a frequent hail storm, it is best to have your solar panels insured. Many businesses now offer insurance for a low monthly fee that can save thousands of dollars in future replacement costs.
  • Set up some kind of alarm system to notify you when there is movement near the solar panels if there is a problem with theft in your area.


Solar panels do break, but not under normal operating conditions; they can easily withstand a mild hail storm, a child throwing a rubber ball at them, and a person walking on top of them.

However, all of these should be avoided as much as possible because, while you may not notice any physical damage with your naked eye, they will all cause microcracks on the solar cells, reducing power generation in the long run.

We would recommend that you purchase the best solar panels available on the market, have them installed by a reputable installer, and then sit back and enjoy the savings in your electricity bill.